NFL Player Glen Coffee Leaves Football on Faith

San Francisco 49er Glen Coffee announced his retirement last Friday after just one season in the NFL. Why? Because he believes it is God’s will.

“I found Christ in college. It changed my views on everything,” Coffee told a Sacramento Bee reporter the morning after announcing his decision, according to Josh Kimball of the Christian Post. “But I still was a football player because it was expected of me, it was something I did all my life.” But no more. Coffee’s new view leads him to believe that God’s will for him is something other than professional football. Leaving a million-dollar career, Coffee will head back to the classroom to finish his college degree.

Some may call Coffee crazy. I call him a hero. How many of us are willing to give up everything to follow Christ? We often say we “follow Jesus” in morality, but how often do we follow him individually and daily, according to the Spirit’s personal prodding?

In today’s reading of the classic devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes of the one who is “discouraged in devotion.” Luke 18 tells of such a man. Upon asking Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus said, “Sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (v.22). The young man became sorrowful, “discouraged in devotion”, for he was extremely rich.

Interestingly, Jesus did not chase after the young man, he simply answered the question: “How can I have eternal life?” and left the man to ponder the answer. It was not an easy one to hear, for it involved great sacrifice. Fortunately, Jesus went on to answer the question of eternal life by offering his own life as the great sacrifice for all who believe.

Today, we often ask another question: How can we have the abundant life? To which the Word of God replies: Sacrifice. Chambers asks the reader if we have heard Jesus tell us to do anything hard. If not, he wonders if we have ever heard Jesus at all.

I suspect Coffee will live to tell a great testimony of God’s blessings on his life. Not necessarily the worldly kind, but the heavenly kind, the kind that come from walking with God. For this man was willing to lay down everything to be obedient in following Christ. Talk about leaving it all on the field. Coffee did just that.

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” –Luke 9:23

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